Humans may be gradually losing intelligence, according to a new study. The study, published today in the journal Trends in Genetics, argues that humans lost the evolutionary pressure to be smart once we started living in dense agricultural settlements several thousand years ago. The development of our intellectual abilities and the optimization of thousands of intelligence genes probably occurred in relatively non-verbal, dispersed groups of peoples living before our ancestors emerged from Africa, said study author Gerald Crabtree, a researcher at Stanford University, in a statement. Since then it’s all been downhill, Crabtree contends.
The theory isn’t without critics, with one scientist contacted by LiveScience suggesting that rather than losing our smarts, humans have just diversified them with various types of intelligence today. Early humans lived or died by their spatial abilities, such as quickly making a shelter or spearing a saber-toothed tiger. Nowadays, though almost everyone has the spatial ability to do ostensibly simple tasks like washing dishes or mowing the lawn, such tasks actually require a lot of brainpower. We can thank our ancestors and the highly tuned mechanism of natural selection for such abilities. Meanwhile, the ability to play chess or compose poetry likely evolved as collateral effects.
But after the spread of agriculture, when our ancestors began to live in dense farming communities, the intense need to keep those genes in peak condition gradually waned. It’s unlikely that the evolutionary advantage of intelligence is greater than it was during our hunter-gatherer past. A hunter-gatherer who did not correctly conceive a solution to providing food or shelter probably died, along with his/her progeny, whereas a modern Wall Street executive that made a similar conceptual mistake would receive a substantial bonus and be a more attractive mate. Clearly, extreme selection is a thing of the past.
Intelligence genes anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 genes determine human intelligence, and these genes are particularly susceptible to harmful changes, or mutations. Based on knowledge of the rate of mutations, the team concludes that the average person harbors two intelligence-stunting genetic changes that evolved over the last 3,000 years. The hypothesis is counterintuitive at first. After all, across the world the average IQ has increased dramatically over the last 100 years, a phenomenon known as the Flynn Effect.
But most of that jump probably resulted from better prenatal care, better nutrition and reduced exposure to brain-stunting chemicals such as lead. But just because humans have more mutations in their intelligence genes doesn’t mean we are becoming less brainy as a species. Instead, removing the pressure for everyone to be a superb hunter or gatherer may have allowed us to evolve a more diverse population with different types of smarts.
You don’t get Stephen Hawking (British theoretical physicist) 200,000 years ago. He just doesn’t exist but now we have people of his intellectual capacity doing things and making insights that we would never have achieved in our environment of evolutionary adaptation.
Engaging in sense gratification is not the desired activity of the intelligent entity. The desired activity of the intelligent entity is to control the senses by engaging them in the process of devotional service. Devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and one’s senses are purified simply by being employed in the service of the Lord.
So the point is that the same senses which are the cause of so much trouble can become the cause of liberation if it is engaged in the process of devotional service. The enemy known as lust is manifesting its desire to the intelligence, the mind, and senses. Therefore, Lord Krishna goes on to say curb this great enemy, a symbol of sin. So lust has been further described to be the symbol of sin. So the lord says curb this great symbol of sin, lust by regulating the senses.
Just samadhi is not the real solution but rather real solution is to positively engage the mind and senses in service of the Lord. The example of a sage is cited to point out how, when he was agitated by damsel, he withdrew from his path. In comparison to this we have the situation of another sage, who was being tempted by most beautiful woman committing profanity, but this most beautiful woman was unsuccessful. There is also an example when the incarnation of sinful life, Maya took the form of most beautiful woman who had amongst her victim even Brahma and the other demigods, when she came to tempt prominent Vaishnava saint, she was totally unsuccessful.
Therefore, one should fix one’s mind in the service to the Personality of Godhead and if the mind and the senses are engaged in devotional service to the Personality of Godhead then the Lord always comes to the rescue of His devotee.
Take a look at the mirror. Is this who you are? If yes, then who is the person in the 10-year-old family portrait? And where will you be when the mirror shows a wrinkled face with grey hair 20 years from now? Are you the person who was sure he could not live without a certain somebody or the one who is now cursing the day he met her? What is it that attracts you to another body — for a short while, temporarily, but enough to enamor you and make you regret later when it is too late as your body has aged? Think about it. What is it in this body that is you? What is it that makes you who you are?
People tell me ‘we are the soul’ but then where is the soul? What is the soul? All these are just words till the time you actually have an experience of it. The truth is we do not know who we are, what we want or why we are here. So when we have no idea of what or where we are, who is that we are serving? We spend our life and birth chasing things that we think we want or need and the incredible part is, these too keep changing every instant.
The situation may be compared to a treasure hunt, where the participants are blind men and the treasure is the color red. None of them know what that is, and every time they stumble upon something they think that is the treasure, only to realize that it isn’t. The irony is, even if they find that treasure, they would never know they have found it because they are lacking the sense that is needed to comprehend it.
The only fact and the truth in this hunt would be that the body will go, your senses will fade away and you will be scared and confused with just one desire left — to look the way you used to and go on for more years. And go on why? For how long? Even you don’t know, but you just want to go on.